Ferrari launch 248 F1 at Mugello

January 24,  2006

2006 Ferrari 248 F1

Breaking the recent five-year tradition, Ferrari has christened its new 2006 grand prix challenger the '248 F1'.

Since 2001, the scarlet single seater has followed the naming pattern 'F2001', and so on. The habit continued until last year, with the unsuccessful 'F2005' model.

At the 248's launch at Mugello (Italy) on Tuesday morning, moreover, Michael Schumacher appeared on track with his car bearing the number five, similarly ending a run since 2001 of showing off the world champion's number 1 honor.

2006 Ferrari 248 F1

For the record, the '248' designation is derived from F1's new engine formula -- '24' as in 2.4 liter capacity, and '8' meaning eight cylinders.

The traditional press conference held at the presentation of the new single-seater that will compete in the Formula 1 world championship began with the engineers who have developed the car over the past months: Aldo Costa, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne. Byrne opened and underlined how his role in the company was changing.

He was progressively filling a consultancy role for all the new House of Maranello projects and, in particular, regarding the engineering of the cars. Then came Aldo Costa, creator of the 248 F1, to reflect on Byrne's role and the characteristics of the car in detail. He declared that: "it was mainly to do with the V8 engine and we imposed a radical change from both a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view. The aerodynamics are still at a preliminary stage and will be until the first race of the season.

2006 Ferrari 248 F1

As regards the chassis, this is totally new, above all in the centre section. We decided on this in order to optimize the weight distribution and lighten the entire structure.

The same goes for the suspension, especially in the completely redesigned rear end. The transmission too is all new (though constructed from composite materials) and also the differential. In building these two new elements in particular, we had to pay close attention to the characteristics of the V8. The greater vibrations generated by the engine brought more initial problems".

2006 Ferrari 248 F1 on Mugello circuit

The gathered journalists then asked questions to which Brawn replied that "from the midway point of last season when we realized we could not challenge for the top spots, we began concentrating more on development, especially the blend of the aerodynamic configuration and the characteristics of the new V8. Despite the progress that the Bridgestone tires have made with the reintroduction of tyre changes, we expect to see lap times that are a second or two slower than last year". In conclusion, and related again to the tire issue, Brawn responded to newsprint journalists and emphasized how having Bridgestones this year would be an advantage as they will supply four teams.

Now the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro would be able to compare development and the progress being made with other Bridgestone teams".

Ferrari V8 makes its debut

Paolo Martinelli, Gilles Simon, Aldo Costa, Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn

After Aldo Costa, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne came Paolo Martinelli, Formula 1 Engine Director, and Gilles Simon, head of planning and engine development, to face the journalists during the press conference to launch the new 248 F1. "It is a totally new project", began Martinelli.

"It is a return to the past, as the name of the car demonstrates. We started working on this engine midway through 2004 and then tested it on the bench. Last August it made its first outing, at Fiorano, and in the autumn of 2005 we completed the V8. Now we are close to the final version. Obviously, in the course of the season we will have to cope with a very steep learning curve. Gilles Simon's success in development was underlined: "the calculations were made long ago and even if the regulation changes were related to us rather late in the day, fundamental modifications such as the selection of the centre of gravity had already been made". "The rules outline global constraints but do allow a lot of space for projectual experimentation", continued Martinelli.

"The 90 angle was our choice as was settling on the minimum weight for the non-moving parts. The real challenge, however, was lightening the weight of the moving components". "For the first time in ten years a drop in performance was recorded and this was fundamental. The change in power meant some greater investment, but,in the long run, it will be more economical. The overall output of the engine remains unchanged and so some factors were the same as on the V10".

Martinelli also revealed that there had been some dialogue between the engineers who work on road-going cars and those who concentrate on racing models. "We met the people who work on GTs and exchange opinion in analyzing problems and the methods to resolve them. It was by no means a one-way communication" "We were certainly on shared ground", added Simon. "However, there are many differences, for example in our time schedules. We made a lot of input and so did they. It was a process of cross contamination".

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